Sunday, 10 April 2016

Meet new Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson | A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro

Published: March 1st by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: yound adult, contemporary, mystery

Goodreads summary: The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy.


I have to admit that the first chapter is completely different from the rest of the novel. I had started it, then dropped it, then started it again. In short, it took me a week to finally get through the first chapter, because I didn’t find it very exciting. The story actually starts in the second chapter, and it got much more interesting after that. Nevertheless, I found the chapters to be way too long. This novel is 336 pages long, with only 12 chapters, which made me feel bored sometimes. I like shorter chapters than that, but that’s just my opinion as a reader.

It was the first modern day Sherlock retelling I read and I quite liked it. The plot was interesting to follow but yet a little repetitive when they tried to find out who the suspect was. I liked that the murderer was imitating Sherlock Holmes’ stories for his murders; it made a lot of Easter eggs to find… But also info-dump because the author had to explain these stories. I still really like the Sherlock Holmes aspect of this story, but it could have been more subtle.

Moreover, I liked that it tackled down some serious topics, like rape and drug addiction: it wasn’t just about the crime, but also about the characters’ lives in a boarding school. If I couldn’t quite imagine the characters leaving in the middle of the night –seriously, this trope again- I liked that the author didn’t forget parts like homework, because it’s often forgotten.

The story was told in first person from the point of view of James Watson. It was quite a change for me, because I’m not used to a boy perspective in YA… Sometimes dual perspective with the girl, but almost never with just the boy (the only one I can think about right now it The Maze Runner… But that’s it). 

 I liked hearing the story from his point of view, but I wanted more than a rugby player with anger management issues who was very similar Dr. Watson. Typically, he wanted to be a writer and had a lot of success with girls. It’s not because your forefathers did something that you have to do it again and again. It was even worse with the Holmes. While I liked the premise of the book, with descendants from Sherlock Holmes, Watson but also Moriarty, I didn’t like that they just felt the same, but from a different century. Charlotte felt exactly like Sherlock, and how was I supposed to believe she started taking drugs at twelve? I felt like the only reason she had this addiction was because Sherlock had one. I still liked the characters, but they were too similar to the original ones for my tastes.

I really liked the dynamics between Charlotte and Jamie, they were brought together because they were framed for murder, and it was original. However, I didn’t like that after a few days, Jamie was already saying she was her best friend. I’m sorry, but I can’t believe that, no matter how peculiar the situation was. Doctor Watson didn’t start calling Sherlock Holmes is best friend the first few days he moved to his flat. Then, later on, Jamie said he wasn’t sure Charlotte considered him her friend. It was so irritating, considering what he had said… I still liked how their relationship progressed though.

I have to admit that if I had unravelled a small part of the mystery, I hadn’t guessed all of it, which pleased me immensely. I would have liked to do without the villain explaining his plan at the end –what Charlotte was doing was obvious- because it’s such a trope. Still, the ending contained some good plot twists and the author got rid of the Sherlock similarities to make her own twist. It was hard to figure out the whole plan of the culprit, which made sense and was unique. The last chapter was written by Charlotte, which made me laugh a lot, because she was trying to “correct” things Jamie said about her, since she wanted us to think it wasn’t true. It felt so much like a Sherlockian view. I think I’ll read the next one, out of curiosity, especially if they’re in England.

Overall, I found it pretty average, but it kept me entertained. I felt like the author really wanted to show us she was a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. So yes, it had a lot of similarities to it, but I wished the characters had been more different. Nevertheless, she still managed to write a really good ending, where everything made sense and was more different from the original novels.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you know other Sherlock Holmes retellings I should read?


  1. Yay - a male perspective in YA! I guess Patrick Ness would be another author who writes male perspectives? I digress!
    Great review! I've been pretty curious about this one, definitely. Sounds like there are some similarities to Sherlock Holmes that are cool and enjoyable and some that are not quite as awesome. I'll probably still try to give this one a go soon-ish. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lucie!

    1. I've never read any of Patrick Ness' books yet, but I intend to, because I've heard great things about them. Which one should I start with?
      I hope you'll love this one Annika! :) I think 3.5 stars is one of my main ratings, it still means I liked it!

    2. The Knife of Never Letting Go is first in a trilogy - all the books are out, so that could be a good starting point? I just got a copy of A Monster Calls, and it looks really good as well! He's such an imaginative author!
      I hope so too! I definitely have to find a copy soon!